A letting agent who fled the country leaving creditors, landlords, tenants and his own staff hundreds of pounds out of pocket has been jailed.
Manish Manek, 54, of no fixed abode, appeared at Kingston Crown Court on 2 September where he was found guilty of 17 counts of theft and sentenced 20 months in jail.
Manek stole £47,000 from his clients in south-west London after paying the deposits into his personal account for four years.
As well as the stolen deposits, he had racked up debts of about £18,000 including pay owed to his employees.
He disappeared in October 2012, telling his staff at JeJe Barons – the estate agents he owned in Kingston – he was going into hospital to have a liver tumour removed. However, he boarded a flight to India having secretly sold his house while plotting his escape.
Manek was captured two years later, in September last year, after trying to re-enter the UK.
Detective Constable Paul Lawlor, from Kingston CID, said: “Manek stole from the very people who were paying him to manage their properties and keep his business running. He blamed his criminal activities on his huge debt, his ill health and the health of family members.
“Regardless of what his personal circumstance may have been, it does not justify resorting to criminal activities thinking it is an easy route out. Because of his actions, Manek is not only serving a custodial sentence in jail but has also lost the reputation he once had within his community.”